Monday, March 23, 2009

Small Things Make me Happy


Test post --- still trying for paragraphs! Wouldn't that be nice J A small thing to some, but to me, it would be a small chunk of happiness. Perfect, this, in there'd be no calories, fats or other badness…just paragraphs and the ability to actually edit a post so it would look like I want it to. Be more readable, too! That'd be another huge plus.


Here goes a paragraph. Let's see it if will publish this way, being a paragraph, that is. You're likely wondering at the significance of the picture with this post. It's a shot from a very cool screensaver I have…perhaps you've seen it somewhere, too. It's an amazingly realistic looking pocket watch submerged with a few coins beneath the surface of a stream. Interestingly enough, the watch always displays the accurate time and date. Periodically a leaf will languidly float by, then another one. Very peaceful. There is sound with this, too, if you'd like. A swirly, swishy attempt at a happy brook type sound. I prefer to run with the sound generally off, or just low enough that I'll hear it when an email clicks into my inbox.


Time to publish this "test" to see how it turns out on the

Notes on followup: Well, Houston, we've got paragraphs!!! No picture --- at all --- after two different kinds of attempts, but definitely paragraphs!!! Good for a start.

Now I've got to finish up and hit the hay. LONG day and tomorrow begins a busy week. But way I can write posts with paragraphs! See what I mean? Small things make me happy :-) Of course to the reader, also, anything which makes reading/and comprehension easier is a good thing. Who'd a-thought I could do it with Windows! Sadly, the scribe fire thing didn't work for me. But...Yay! Now, I'm off to try to sleep.... But wait. Had to give it one more last try. Picture! We got the picture, too! Great way to wind this up and provide a nice foundation of success to lay my head down upon...for that sleep thing which too often eludes me.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What do you do? STAND

Has Lent seemed extra long to you? It has to me. Today is the first day of Spring and the sunlight is encouraging, but it’s still nowhere near Easter yet…but it will be! It’s no small thing that our Hebrew brothers and sisters celebrate every year a “Day of Atonement” (think: at-ONE-ment) in the fall when their New Year begins. This is a time to go to people who have hurt you and forgive them, at the same time going to others whom you have hurt and asking their forgiveness. A time to make things *right*, for reconciliation and restoration. I wonder if they have the same caveat about this, though, that many twelve step programs do wherein you “make amends” only when doing so would not bring harm or hurt to the other person. You know that in some circumstances just opening the door for discussion about past unresolved situations or misunderstandings would bring renewed hurt or pain for some people. Therefore in those circumstances, you must refrain. It’s hard. That’s why I’m glad Easter’s coming for all of us.

What do you do in a situation where there’s been hurt and misunderstanding and you’ve done everything you can to make things right but nothing seems to work? How do you move from that spot knowing the other person is stuck thinking something which just isn’t the way it is, or even the way it happened? Even when you know the other person may be reeling from circumstances or past events and is dealing with a kind of pain that seems to have morphed your circumstances into an entirely different “movie” than the one you’re seeing, it doesn’t make it any easier because you can’t do anything about it. And that’s the hardest part, isn’t it? There is such helplessness in knowing there’s been misunderstanding or miscommunication, that the other person feels badly and is carrying hurt and anger which is based on all that. You’ve done everything you could to explain, share heartfelt concern but perhaps to no avail. Now you’re stuck. To do or say more could well make things worse. Hard…hard as the nails on Good Friday.

There’s a song I really like by Donnie McClurkin which so well describes this dilemma, called “Stand”. Here are selected excerpts and the chorus from that song:

Tell me what do you do when you’ve done all you can, and it seems like it’s never enough? … Tell me what can you give when you’ve given your all, and it seems like you can’t make it through? And how can you smile when your heart has been broken and filled with pain? “ And here’s God’s answer, in the chorus of that same song: “Well you just stand when there’s nothing left to do; You just stand, watch the Lord see you through. Yes, after you’ve done all you can, you just stand.”

Where do we stand? On the Word of God where in so many places He encourages us that He will take care of us in stormy circumstances, when we’ve done all we can. In one translation of Psalm 14, verse 14 says, “Wait for the Lord; take heart and stand firm, wait for the Lord.”

All of us have places in our past, tricky sore spots in our hearts we avoid because of hurt and there’s nothing we can do about them on our own. While every day, every hour, every moment that we breathe we have the opportunity of applying God’s grace as a soothing balm to these aching places, if that hasn’t helped before, think about doing this powerful thing. As we approach the final days of Lent, moving toward Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, prayerfully and gently consider the things of pain hidden in your heart, the people and the misunderstandings. If there is anyone you haven’t made amends to yet and could do so without bringing pain to them, seek Jesus’ help in doing so. Perhaps in a lovingly written letter which could be read privately.

In those circumstances where approaching the person is not an option (due to bringing angst to them), set aside some quiet time and with prayer, write those people’s name(s) and a key word or two on a piece of paper. Lovingly place the paper in your Bible, perhaps at a passage such as Psalm 14 or at any of these scriptures which will also help to strengthen and encourage you in this work: Eph 6:10-11, Nahum 1:7, Is 41:10, 2Timothy 4:18, Eph 3:16-21, Is 40:31, 2Cor 2:14, 2 Cor 12:9, Ps 138:3, Ps 71:1-5,16, Ps 31:1-3, Ps 46:1-3, Ps 27:14, Ps 61:2-4, 2 Tim 1:7-9, Heb 12:1-4, and Heb 13:5b,6.

Remember that in the scriptures which speak of “evildoers” etc. in these passages, this doesn’t mean the people in our circumstances are necessarily evil. The evil one takes delight in our being shackled by unresolved heartache or anything else which gets in the way of freedom in Christ. In this case, it’s the long fermenting situations which are the badness referred to in the scripture references.

On Maundy Thursday when we pick up our nails at the beginning of the service and then bring them to put in the basket at the foot of the cross, if you choose to bring the paper with the names to place at the cross, too, I promise you no one will read what’s there except Christ who already knows what’s written in your hearts. At our counseling agency we had a similar practice. When people brought things like this to be placed in God’s hands in exchange for inner freedom and peace, we prayerfully burned those things unread, trusting the people who brought them in faith to be released by the love of Jesus.

Hard. Hard as the nails on Good Friday, and that’s exactly the place where these pains belong. Stand and release them, friends, and be freed by the same power which raised our Lord Jesus on Resurrection Sunday. Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!